Today’s consumers expect businesses to continually earn their loyalty. They’re overwhelmed with choice, pressed for time and have little patience for bad customer experiences. To stand out from the crowd, brands must use every touchpoint to deepen the customer relationship — and make service processes personalized and empathetic.
But most organizations struggle to deliver that level of relevance. According to the Genesys “The State of Customer Experience” report, just 35% of CX leaders say their company offers a highly personalized experience today.
The survey also reveals that personalizing the customer experience presents an unmatched opportunity for organizations to increase customer loyalty and value, as well as grow revenue. Eighty percent of consumers say they’d buy more, and more often, from companies that consistently personalize their interactions. Additionally, nearly 80% would recommend that company to a friend or colleague — and more than half would pay slightly higher price for that personalized experience.
But the personalization that consumers want probably differs from what most CX leaders expect consumers to want. Marketing messages with segment-based offers and points programs are low on consumers’ list of preferences when it comes to personalized experiences. Instead, they want empathy throughout the customer journey, the Genesys report finds.
When asked what they perceive as the most valuable forms of personalization, consumers worldwide said, “Receiving the services I need at any time and in my preferred channel of choice,” and “Being connected straightaway with the right person to help me .”
Meet customers where they are
Digital channel use among consumers is booming. Email, messaging apps, web chat and chatbots have all seen increased use over the past year. Channel preferences are shifting, as well. While baby boomers and many Gen Xers heavily favor voice, millennials and Gen Z prefer web chat, messaging apps and chatbots.
At the same time, satisfaction with every channel but voice has declined. Customer frustration with dropped calls, dead ends (e.g., no clear escalation path from a chatbot to an agent), and silos are primary drivers of this stagnation. These issues are often the result of poor journey design and disconnected systems that can’t escalate interactions or transfer context.
The digital transformation needed to resolve these issues is lagging. One-third of CX leaders surveyed for the report say managing increased interaction volume and channel complexity is among their top customer experience challenges. And just 13% of organizations offer a fully connected, omnichannel customer experience. More than half are still taking a “multichannel” approach, offering a variety of interaction channels that operate individually or have only some underlying technology and data that is connected.
The biggest opportunity for providing consistent personalization, the report suggests, is to orchestrate customers’ individual interactions, as well as their end-to-end journeys. Doing this will help organizations ensure that customers get the service they need when they need it — in their preferred channel — and always reach the right person.
Personalizing the end-to-end journey is where orchestration technology excels. CX leaders are prioritizing these technologies over the next two years, the report finds.
One top priority is connecting technology and data to deliver a better omnichannel experience. Tools they find highly valuable to enable personalization across that full journey include predictive and journey analytics, omnichannel digital engagement solutions, real-time sentiment analysis, and AI-driven interaction routing.
Composable cloud-based CX platforms allow organizations to meet these goals. CX leaders say the top benefits of using cloud-based CX technologies include better access to data across channels and the ability to implement processes with new features, channels and capabilities faster.
Once integrated, these technologies can create pathways that enable organizations to connect data and harness advanced analytics to deliver more personalized experiences across the end-to-end journey — complementing the AI they use to improve the employee experience. Organizations can use advanced analytics to create a virtuous cycle of orchestrating more personalized experiences. AI can “listen” to customers; understand and predict their intent; and act quickly and precisely to present the right information, tool or employee to assist. And it can then learn continuously from the process to create a virtuous cycle.
Personalization starts with people
Similarly, AI can “listen” to employees through their interactions, understand their skills, route interactions to them where they’re likely to succeed and then support them through to resolution.
The report finds that organizations will increasingly use AI and automation technologies that surface relevant customer and solution information to provide human — and virtual — agents the insights needed in real time to personalize interactions and quickly resolve issues.
Additionally, using AI-based tools like predictive routing and intelligent forecasting and scheduling will ensure the right resources are available at the right time. And this means interactions are routed to the right employee — driving deeper personalization and improving customer and employee experiences.
For employees, this improved experience will also involve a simplified desktop, real-time insight and recommendations, and AI-led analytics that make it easier to personalize interactions, according to the report. All of these will enable employees to be more empathetic and adaptive when engaging with customers.
When the contact center is woven in seamlessly with digital channels, customers won’t hit frustrating dead ends. Organizations using an omnichannel approach and advanced analytics can escalate customers — along with the context and information — to the right agent, who can then quickly resolve the issue.
Getting personal is profitable
“The State of Customer Experience” report found that 86% of consumers believe a company is only as good as its service. They’re looking for personalized service experiences.
To meet these expectations, organizations should start by implementing a cloud-based CX platform that enables omnichannel experiences. This means customers are served in their channels of choice and by the agent best positioned to resolve their issue. This creates personalization that leads to unmatched customer experiences — as well as enduring loyalty and an unrivaled competitive advantage.